press release

“The truth that the artist is after is primarily psychic truth. And it is Freud, of course, who has taught us the importance of psychic reality.”i

“Psychoanalysis as a treatment originated in the idea that neurosis is related to the ways in which individual psychic reality departs from actuality. Psychic reality includes memories, beliefs, and their associated affects and fantasies connected with an individual’s experience of the inner and outer world.”ii

In "Dream, Phantasy and Art," Hanna Segal writes that Freud thought of fantasy as “the psychic reality.” Fantasy is “a wish-fulfilling idea which comes into play when external reality is frustrating” (Segal, 16). When the real becomes repulsive, when, as Donald Kuspit states, “reality is seen…as a problematic, disjointed, interminable process full of tensions and contradictions…the way to insight into it” is opened.”iii The artist, in search of psychic truth, taps into unconscious fantasy as a means of symbolic, aesthetic, and emotional expression. Habitually, art strays from the beautiful and the sublime, turning instead to that which is strange, uncertain, and fantastic. In "Psychic Reality," the work on view shows a reality that is simultaneously familiar yet uncanny, what in German is termed unheimlich.iv

As Freud writes in his 1925 essay, "The ‘Uncanny,’"“It may be true that the uncanny [Unheimlich] is something which is secretly familiar [Heimlich], which has undergone repression and then returned from it, and that everything that is uncanny fulfills this condition.”v In "Psychic Reality," artists act as soothsayers or mediums, channeling and revealing what is already known to us, “the tension that underlies the creative process” (Kuspit, 93). Freud states that the function of art is to transport the viewer to a different but familiar reality; in his analysis of Michaelangelo’s Moses, he writes, “the artist aims to awaken in us the same emotional attitude, the same mental constellation which produces in him the impetus to create.”vi The viewer of "Psychic Reality" is asked to play the role of the analyst, not reducing the works on view to psychoanalysis, but instead approaching dialectically with one’s own aesthetic and associative points of view.

i Hanna Segal, Dream, Phantasy and Art, (New York: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991,) 82.

ii Michael Good, Max Day, and Eve Rowell, “False Memories, Negative Affects, and Psychic Reality: The Role of Extra-Clinical Data in Psychoanalysis,” in The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1 Nov. 2005

iii Donald Kuspit, The End of Art, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004,) 11.

iv Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987).

v Sigmund Freud, “The ‘Uncanny’.” Writings on Art and Literature. Ed. James Strachey. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997, 222.

vi Sigmund Freud, “The Moses of Michelangelo.” Writings on Art and Literature. Ed. James Strachey. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997, 123.

About the artists:

Zoe Beloff will screen her new stereoscopic film, "Charming Augustine," at Bellwether on Saturday, January 28th, 2006 at 6pm. Augustine was the most extensively photographed of the young women hysterics at the asylum of the Salpêtrière in Paris of the 1870's; she was 'the Sarah Bernhardt of the asylum'. This film is the first in an ongoing body of work, A Hundred Years of Hysteria exploring the history of hysteria in relation to theater, cinema and art. Zoe Beloff grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1980 she moved to New York to study at Columbia University where she received an MFA in Film. Zoe works with a variety of cinematic imagery: film, stereoscopic projection performance, interactive media and installation. She has also worked with artists from other disciplines including composer John Cale, sound artist Ken Montgomery and the Wooster Group theater company. Her work has been exhibited internationally at: The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, Rotterdam Film festival, Pacific Film Archives and the Pompidou Center.

Cynthia Chan's paintings hover on the invisible border where exterior meets interior. The subjects of the paintings seem to shimmer in and out of the space they occupy, collapsing and expanding at the same time, torquing in and out of proximity. Together the works specify a kinetic painting space in which spinning energies accumulate and build in intensity, forcing everything along a definitive path. Using abrupt scale shifts, gradated color, and distorted canvases, Cynthia's work sets up a system of equivalences to cope with the uncertainty of this encompassing landscape. Cynthia Chan received an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art, where she was selected as the dual recipient of the Ely Harwood Schless Memorial Fund Prize and the Blair Dickinson Memorial Prize. Her work has been exhibited at the Nevada Institute of Contemporary Art in Las Vegas, and the Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida. She lives and works in New York City.

Devon Costello’s work is a dialogue between painting and sculpture, surface and substance. His sculptures are painted as minimalist surfaces or with impasto, then wall-mounted as relief in relation to the paintings. The images on the canvas are isolated fragments with varying degrees of definition to their borders; the white of the canvas and the wall allows the image/object to become a specimen. Devon’s sensibility is similar to a formula found in museums of natural history where specimens and artifacts are displayed to communicate a lineage, evolution, or transformation. This dialogue mirrors a doppelganger investigation of the relationship between nature, beauty, the sublime, modernist aesthetics, and their ideas of context. Devon Costello holds a BFA in Painting and Environmental Installation from the School of Visual Arts. He has also attended the Rhode Island School of Design and participated in many group shows including: "Delicate Kinship" at Hanna Gallery in Tokyo, "I Am Five" at Parker’s Box, Brooklyn, "Infinite Fill" at Foxy Production, NY, and "Drunk vs. Stoned" at GBE at Passerby, NY. His upcoming solo show at Taxter & Spengemann, NY, is scheduled for June 2006.

Justin Craun’s paintings and drawings combine anxiety, humor, and dread. His work is a satirical exploration of the young and old American problems of greed, disillusionment and fear. Craun was born 1982 in Bethesda, Maryland. He lives and works in Brooklyn. He has solo exhibitions at Fredericks and Freiser Gallery in New York and Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis forthcoming in 2006.

Gregory Edwards shifts in and out of various modes of painting. Images are built out of autonomous systems that come from different perspectives, yet are held together by a basic empirical language. This shifting of perspectives creates a tension within the images that question any idea of truth. His paintings become characters in a tragicomedy without an ending. Gregory Edwards obtained a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2003. His work was recently exhibited in "Sugar and Stress, Young Painting from New York," at Fredericks Freiser Gallery, NY. Greg lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Jill Hubley’s statement: In reality, there exists a repetition of forms both natural and manmade, each distinct in meaning. On paper, however, one shape can stand for another. Meaning may be bent and broken to fit inner desires. By coupling disparate objects and decoupling ones that regularly cling to another, a new idea of the world is fashioned. By becoming part of physical reality, the work then provides a second chance for the mind, a dream space made present. It exists as a comfort amid the disasters of living. Jill Hubley was educated at Vassar College, Pratt Institute, and Eugene Lang College. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Timothy Marvel Hull’s project, "The War Against Sleep of G.I. Gurdjieff," deals with various issues concerning the ideas, personality and audience that surround the mystical thinker and orator, G.I. Gurdjieff. This project is an investigation into the cult of personality, esoteric knowledge, East meets West sensibilities, charismatic icons and mysticism. Taking cues from Pop art, surrealist collage, kitschy craft movements and popular psychadelia, the project involves intricate patterning, constructivist masking tape wall drawings that serve as shrines and symbols, paper scrolls of esoteric knowledge, video wall installations, and bleak laser printed historical images of Gurdjieff and his original band of disciples who were mostly American lesbian ex-pats living in Paris in the early twentieth century. The black and white images serve as historical markers, inextricably tied to time and place, also standing in dissonance to the rich and colorful patterning that enshrines them and builds their relationships. The surreal collages serve to construct relationships between characters, illuminate power structures and reference mystical compositions. Timothy Marvel Hull has a BA in Studio Art and Aesthetics from New York University and is currently a candidate for an MFA from the Parsons School of Design. Timothy has recently exhibited his work in "Red, White, Blue" at Spencer Brownstone, NY, and at Tank Gallery, NY. His work can be seen in the Drawing Center Viewing Program and Slide Registry. For more information visit:

Mïrka Lugosi’s drawings are self-portraits in erotic situations. She explores dark eroticism in relation to fear and death from the perspective of Georges Bataille. Mïrka uses her fears to begin the stories she relates; for instance, the dog is a motif presented simultaneously as lover and threat, treading the balance between attraction and mistrust, becoming simultaneously familiar and uncanny or unheimlich. Mïrka develops her work piece by piece like a puzzle, but the game never ends and mystery persists because her subjects are always open. Her work is articulating itself around a kind of images’ psychanalise in which images are presented not like material reality but always like a mysterious but tangible proposition. Mïrka Lugosi lives and works lives and works at Clamart (Paris). In addition to making small drawings on paper, Mïrka also uses gouache, watercolor, ink on photographs, and film.

Justin Samson and Aisling Hamrogue are “multi-dimensional space tribe natives” who collaborate on collages, photographs, and artist’s books. Using a process called “self referencing,” Justin and Aisling take portraits of each other in the woods and digitally colorize the photos before combining them in collage. Aisling Hamrogue lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She obtained a BFA in painting from S.V.A. in 2004. Justin Samson (born 1979) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Recent shows include a solo exhibit at John Connelly Presents, NY, and "Divided by Lightning" at Deitch Projects, "Elk Rattle" at Kate MacGarry, and "if you think you see with just your eyes you are mad" at Peres Projects.

Sara VanDerBeek’s recent photographs of “constructions” function as physical manifestations of a memory, whereas they are not linear in their structure but more gathered and assembled. The arrangement of each “construction” is suggestive of the organization of a memory while the photographing of it is reflective of one’s process of remembering. Resting on different planes, certain images appear more prominently than others as they fall in and out of focus within the final photograph. Creating the physical connections between the images and objects, the beads, ribbons, and chains are often frayed or precariously strung, as with memories in which elements are lost, edited or entangled and the recollection can be inconsistent. Sara VanDerBeek was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She studied photography, sculpture and film at The Cooper Union, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts in 1998. From 1998- 2001, She lived in London and worked primarily as a commercial photographer. Since returning to New York in 2001, she resumed her studio practice which has evolved to include photography, film and painting. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Denver. In 2003, she founded Guild & Greyshkul, a gallery and artist studio in Soho. She is currently Co-director of the gallery’s program.

Johannes VanDerBeek’s (b. 1982, Baltimore) sculptures delicately combine representations of real and imagined actions, bodies, and sites. A fascination with event perception pervades his constructions – culturally readable signs, symbols, and forms are reconfigured to produce an impossible reality, but one that captures the sense of mystery behind the lived realities in which we firmly believe.” (from Johannes VanDerBeek was born in 1982 in Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to New York in 2000 to attend The Cooper Union where he received a B.F.A. in 2004 with a focus in sculpture. In 2003 he co-founded Guild & Greyshkul, an artist run space committed to exhibiting the work of young artists, including his own. He has been included in group exhibitions at D’Amelio Terras, Julia Friedman Gallery, and Phillips de Pury, as part of “Art Review’s: 25 Emerging US Artists”. He recently presented a large-scale sculpture entitled “Newspaper Ruins” as part of international projects at PS1/MOMA.

Kurator: Esme Watanabe

mit Zoe Beloff, Cynthia Chan, Devon Costello, Justin Craun, Gregory Edwards, Jill Hubley, Timothy Marvel Hull, Mïrka Lugosi, Justin Samson & Aisling Hamrogue, Sara Vanderbeek, Johannes Vanderbeek